Who uses peat in their filters? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2007, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Who uses peat in their filters?

I've done a search already, I just wanted to see some more opinions from those of you who do. I'd like to use peat for 2 reasons:

1. I actually like the look of tannins in the water. I think it makes the color of some of the fish pop.

2. I'd like to lower the pH a bit for some of the fish I want to keep since my tap has a pH around 9. I don't have RO/DI, and I am considering cardinals, rummy nose, angelfish, and apistos (not all of them).

I know that peat is very variable, so there isn't an established value of how much is enough. This leads to my other question: have any of you used the peat pellets that Fluval makes? They sell them as a kind of filter media. Is this any better, or just as random?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2007, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishscale View Post
I've done a search already, I just wanted to see some more opinions from those of you who do. I'd like to use peat for 2 reasons:

1. I actually like the look of tannins in the water. I think it makes the color of some of the fish pop.

2. I'd like to lower the pH a bit for some of the fish I want to keep since my tap has a pH around 9. I don't have RO/DI, and I am considering cardinals, rummy nose, angelfish, and apistos (not all of them).

I know that peat is very variable, so there isn't an established value of how much is enough. This leads to my other question: have any of you used the peat pellets that Fluval makes? They sell them as a kind of filter media. Is this any better, or just as random?
I tried the Fluval Peat before, it does give you the tannins. However, it is not the most effective way of lowering pH. You might want to get yourself a bottle of Seachem Acid Buffer, and add it into the water that you are going to refill the aquarium. This is the only way to lower pH without RO system.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2007, 07:39 PM
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You might want to get yourself a bottle of Seachem Acid Buffer, and add it into the water that you are going to refill the aquarium. This is the only way to lower pH without RO system.
I'm sorry, but that's a ridiculous statement.

I've tried peat in a canister as well as in a HOB filter before. In theory it should lower your pH and your hardness, and it did mine, but the volume it takes to do that is suprisingly large, especially if you are coming down from pH 9. For example, if you wanted to continuously lower the pH/hardness of a 40g+ tank, I think it would take a dedicated xp1 or 2 filled to the brim with peat. Which might be a desired option since you want the tannins. Peat is pretty cheap, really.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2007, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Does pH really matter that much? I know that apistos and cardinals are pretty sensitive to water quality and prefer their water on the acidic side, but I've also heard that you can just acclimate them slowly to higher pH and they will be fine. I just figured that because peat is cheap, I might as well give it a shot.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 02:43 AM
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There are limits to the amount of adaptation a fish can undergo. A cardinal might survive at a pH of 8.0, if properly acclimated, but logic would dictate that the fish can not thrive and be happy. Whether or not a cardinal would even survive at pH of 9, I don't know. It definitely won't thrive.

How sure are you about the pH of your tapwater? Have you used several different methods of testing? How about taking it to a LFS and having them test it. I would just be surprised if Ann Arbor was on well water that basic!

If you are quite serious, and the water needs to be softened to that degree, I really do think that peat filtration could work if you do it at the right scale, and keep up with it. The peat is only fully functional for about a month I think, then it starts to loose it's buffering capacity.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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http://www.a2gov.org/government/publ...ts/ccr2006.pdf

On page 6, it lists the average pH as 9.3, with a range of the samples from 8.1-9.5

My own test with an API kit gives a reading around 8.1 usually.

I also plan on injecting CO2, which will also lower the pH.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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I feel like I can't be the only person in Ann Arbor who keeps (or wants to) cardinals. It must be workable, even without RO/DI.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 12:59 PM
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Whelp, sure enough! I'm suprised.

I've just read so many times of people losing half or more of their cardinals with pH<7! At that point, it's more of a cost issue .... they ain't cheap. But, I'd imagine that with adequate peat filtration (I'm not kidding with the dedicated filter!) and co2 injection, you could make them happy.

I'd be willing to bet that most apisto varieties are more hardy than cardinals. Maybe try with them first, see how it goes. Sorry I can't give you more personal experience with hard water and cardinals! Maybe you could ask the LFS what their parameters are!?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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I will definitely ask. There aren't too many LFS's around here that stock them, and the few reputable ones that I would buy them from might have a RO/DI unit. There is one store that definitely does not have an RO/DI unit, but I wouldn't buy feeders from there.

Do you think that an LFS would let me use their RO/DI for a fee? Sounds like a long shot, but I would actually be willing to haul a ton of water in buckets

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 05:57 PM
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I'm pretty sure that Preuss Pets in Lansing does that (sells filtered water). I don't know about Ann Arbor.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 10:47 PM
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fishscale, sorry to hijack your thread. I just wanted to make sure you've been getting my PMs. I'm starting to think I'm not addressing them correctly or something, another member quit responding rather abruptly. The last one I sent to you was today at 10:49 AM. Thanks!
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 11:05 PM
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I live in Ypsilanti, MI, right next to Ann Arbor. I was told by all the LFS that the pH in the area is 8.2 and that most people keep African cichlids because of that. So yes, it's true that the pH is really basic around here. But, I keep soft water tetras and blue rams without any problems, and the water in my tank is usually around 6.4 without using RO water. I was skeptical, but I used Aquasoil Amazonia in my tank along with two nice sized pieces of malaysian drift wood, and CO2. I'm not sure if it's just a lucky combination or what, but I've managed to keep my pH is a good range for these fish, even though the water comes out of my tap at 8.2. You just have to try a few different things, rather than just relying on one.

I have a bottle of Seachem Acid Buffer, but I've never used it in my tank, just for recharging purigen. I don't think I'd use it in my tank because the stuff makes water reek like rotten eggs. There are definitely other ways to get the results you want.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-24-2007, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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I don't have aquasoil. Does it really impact the pH that much?

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-27-2007, 03:28 AM
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I started peat filtration when I started my first tank a 2-3 months ago.

I bought a box of sphaghum peat from Home Depot (Ingredients says 100% Sphaghum peat) for about 5 bucks CDN (I LIKE THE CDN-US EXCHANGE RATE ), the peat is compacted into tablets meant for potted land plants, so I put and replaced one tablet into my Aquaclear filter each week the first month, it didn't seem to affect the pH at all. My tapwater is at 7.5 pH, and I keep rummynose tetras which like low pH. So a last week I filled a 5 gallon bucket with water and dumped in a handful of peat tablets and ran an airhose over it. I measured the pH today and this peat water is at about 6.5 pH.

My 2cents is 1) peat filtration is hard to control and measure properly, 2) water hardness affects keeping the pH stable, and 3) it's safer to use peat filtration on the change water instead of tank water since pH might fluctuate to more than you want.

I learned about peat filtration mostly from here.

Hope I helped!

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-27-2007, 03:30 AM
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Oh yeah! The peat definitely makes the water REALLY YELLOW!

Edit: and if you want even more tannins, get some untreated quality driftwood. Tannins leak like crazy from driftwood! pH in the water lowers also naturally thanks to fish poo and decaying plant matter. Lastly, increased C02 in the water lowers the pH.
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